© Written by Laura Naomi
poetry by Rumi
image credits: roberto salinas on unsplash, mandala-2734015_1920 on pexels,
jeremy thomas on unsplash
Reverence for The Sacred
© written by Laura Naomi from "Akashasana, the Stories Behind the Art"
image credits: rawpixel-freepik, felix mittermeier-unsplash
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Mantras are sound vibrations and sacred sounds that are about connecting to universal energies within and outside the self and to the present moment. There are many different mantras that are repetitive in nature and are essential aspects of some spiritual practices. They are often accompanied by music, however, some are "utterances" and others recited silently.
Mantras are powerful sound vibrations that have the ability to move us into a deep meditative state, into the realm of spirit and beyond the mind.
Written by Laura Naomi
image credits: Freepik on Freepik
Discernment can be an aspect of compassion, and I feel it is part of a self-discovery process, which can also include understanding our own personal boundaries. Personally, I have found the art of discernment invaluable especially when in relationship with detachment.
So what is the difference between discernment and judgment?
Everybody experiences life differently so I can only share from my own perspective and what my relationship to discernment is. I feel that there are some distinct differences such as underlying intention or motivations. The way that I experience discernment is that I create space for myself and the situation, which gives me greater perspective. Once that space is created, I feel I can begin to listen to the energy both around and within me. With judgment it is more about separating the self from the other person or a situation, compartmentalization and projections. Why we judge can vary greatly. It may be because of fear, a reaction, or an unwillingness to see something inside of the self that another person or situation may have mirrored or triggered.
The reason for discernment differs for everyone and it depends on what is happening in the moment and what we choose to do or not do. It is a navigation tool. Sometimes it could be about self-preservation. Other times it can reflect an understanding or awareness that certain things, energies, circumstances or people may not be healthy for us to be around or involved with.
It is important to check in with deeper feelings about whether we are actually discerning from genuine compassion or motivated by a deeper fear (manifesting as judgment). I feel that only we can determine the validity of our own actions or non-actions, regardless of what others may say. Even if someone points out a blind-spot, ultimately, it is up to the individual to come to their own realization. Forcing or trying to change others is futile and often causes chaos or further difficulties.
It is common that if we are judging something in someone else, we may be doing that very thing ourselves in some way but we are not aware of it or something was triggered within us. It is difficult to look inwards sometimes, especially if it is perceived as something negative or that we don't really like about ourselves. We also may not want to be seen that way by others.
For me, discernment is an empowering quality and it is based on observation and awareness rather than creating separation and division. If we are judging someone or something there may be some part of the ego that wants to be 'right' and make the other person 'wrong'. Ego can manifest in so many different ways and can be an excellent teacher. It's always trying to make itself significant by identifying with certain emotions and personas and likes to make itself more important than others by competing and comparing. If we become stuck in these identifications (which is related to our conditioning), the connection with the true self can diminish immensely. A shift can happen when we are able to recognize and see triggers as an opportunity to discover more of ourselves and begin to embrace the whole self.
In many cases, I feel it is actually a greater act of compassion to let go or step away from a situation rather than remain and deny our authentic selves or the authenticity of others. I feel if we are honoring our own essence from multiple perspectives (taking others into consideration as well), and coming from a place of respect, this is being compassionate.
It has been said many times by many people that when we judge others, we are judging ourselves. For those who come from a perspective that, "We Are All One", this is certainly true. Taking the time to enquire and learn about people's stories, their backgrounds and what they have experienced in this life, is helpful to better understand their behavior or why they are the way they are. To be able to walk (or attempt to walk!) in someone else's shoes is most definitely an act of compassion and empathy. It may not change the decision for discernment, but it can shift the energy from judgment to compassion, which energetically makes a big difference.
Like so many things in life, part of the discovery process is determined by the individual. Since everyone is different, our experiences will vary, yet there is always an opportunity to be compassionate. To me, compassion and forgiveness are not about pretending something didn't happen or allowing something destructive to continue, it is more about setting myself and the other people involved free, therefore reclaiming my personal power. It can take a long time to reach a place of true forgiveness, however I feel if we are on the road working towards this then this is what matters.
I feel that gaining insight with our ability to discern is mostly within the practice of it, and with patience, diligence and compassion we can create more awareness within ourselves over time.
Written by Laura Naomi
Recommended listening and reading:
"Shedding Light onto Shadow"
"Moving beyond Comparison and Competition"
Image credits: zolotareva_elina on AdobeStock, artem-beliaikin on Unsplash and javardh on Unsplash
Competing and comparing ourselves to others seems to start early on in life in our society. It can begin when we are youngsters competing for our parents affections. Then we move through the education system, where these two behaviorisms are actually encouraged and expected. We are even rewarded the more we compete.
My own experience with comparison and competition was primarily between my friends or other girls. It was more about how beautiful you were and how much attention you received from the boys. It was all about physical appearance and it had a profound affect on my development as it did on many other female friends. It can cause great suffering where we can never reach the high standards that we set for ourselves based on conditioning and society's rules. Body shaming, disorders and inner criticism are all too common and have been major issues for many years and continue to be. It wasn't until I came across spiritually mature and conscious women and sisterhood circles that this began to shift for me personally.
I feel that there is healthy competition, such as in sport. This is a great way to burn off built up energy, to learn self-discipline and push ourselves to excel however, throw ego's into the mix and it quickly becomes out of balance. Constantly comparing ourselves and competing with others can be quite exhausting and leads to deeper unhappiness.
In our culture we are fed from many different sources that who we are is not enough. It is quite common that human beings go about looking outside of ourselves for answers to cover up the fear of not being enough. Whether it is about not being beautiful enough or successful enough, not being knowledgeable or wise enough, not enough 'likes' on social media (therefore there's something wrong with me), not being manly enough, and so on.
This leaves a void that will never be fulfilled by trying to be like someone else. As a therapist, I've come across a lot of people over the years who have struggled with a belief that they have to be this 'perfect' image, (whatever that image is for them) so they will be accepted or loved more. The trouble is, it is impossible to be someone or something else other than who we are. Outwardly it may seem like to others we've got it all together, but our inner space or energy doesn't match.
The way to overcome this within ourselves, firstly is to be honest where we may be doing this in our own lives. Secondly, while being honest, to approach ourselves with compassion. Some good reflections are:
Next is to take a step back. To me this behavior is of an old paradigm and we have been misled by society. Many industries prey on fears such as telling us we have to stay looking young by buying a $700 face crème. One of the ways beyond this is looking deeper. Who are we beyond the physical dimension? Beyond the outer appearance, beyond possessions, the need for approval of others, the attachment to being more special than others, judging perceived faults in others or self criticism?
If we become caught up in this behavior I feel we are disconnected with our true nature and our purpose in life by trying to be something else. There are many ways this can play out.
By taking a step back we can drop into our heart-space and deeper feelings and come from a place of appreciation. Appreciating qualities in others I feel takes some humility so we are not projecting our own pain onto the other person we are admiring - where we can see the quality we admire and celebrate it rather than covet it. There are also ways to learn how to develop qualities we like in others, within ourselves in ways that are sincere, transparent and with integrity. Yet getting caught up in trying to be like someone else is denying the authentic self. The only person we can be is ourselves. If society as a whole had the resources to recognize and nurture natural gifts from childhood and encourage this in holistic ways, then we would live in a very different world. A world that is more connected. The ego's motivation for competition or comparison would become irrelevant.
Each of us have shown up to life with our own stories, gifts and essence that is uniquely beautiful unlike anyone else. Being who we are is the most divine gift we can offer each other and the world.
Written by Laura Naomi
Recommended listening and reading...
"Shedding Light onto Shadow"
"The difference between Discernment and Judgment"
image credits: fa-barboza, mountain-1246554_1920 on Unsplash
The Inner Fire
Continuing further into the Archetype of the Artisan, we will cover the concept of Creative vs Reactive as well as other aspects.
So, what does being 'creative and reactive' actually mean?
In this context, reacting is an automatic and usually unconscious response (to something). A common situation is where two people are having a discussion and one person says something that triggers the other. The triggered person then quickly becomes defensive and upset. Communication is often fiery, defensive, anxious and/or passive aggressive whether it is through words or reactions. A reactive response can occur in many ways for various reasons. Usually what triggered the person is from another time surfacing emotion or memories of something unpleasant. Physical sensations can also be experienced such as shaking, the heart beating faster and a surge of energy or heat through the body.
To me, there is a gift in these moments and it is a time for compassion and deeper awareness. I feel that as long as we own our reactions and be mindful to not project our emotions onto others, this gives greater success for healing.
A creative response transforms the energy, which is what was covered in the previous blog - a core aspect of the Artisan. The inner fire can be activated different ways, here we are talking about activation through aggravation and stress or the alternative, through passion and the creative serpent energies of transformation.
The out of balance aspects of the Artisan are that we can create delusions for ourselves. We can become entangled in self-created fantasy worlds within our imagination that are out of touch with reality. Creative energy can be either suppressed or over-stimulated causing escapism and havoc with emotions or sacral chakra energies. Various symptoms can arise due to this imbalance.
The energy of the Artisan can be closely connected to the Healer Archetype. Having a healthy connection to both can be extremely powerful especially when channeled for healing for others and the planet. The way that this manifests is unique for everyone.
As the Artist is explored within and outside of ourselves, its gifts are beautiful, wild and vast. Touching the edges of this energy some may be called to, while others sit perfectly comfortable in the middle.
Different forms of creativity can be: traditional arts (drawing, painting, writing, music, dance), gardening and connection to nature, healing in all its forms, hobbies and crafts, exercise, meditation, yoga, a different mind-set or perspective, communication, peaceful activism, conscious business ventures, projects, partnerships...
The simple fact that we are alive is creativity in motion. The Universe creating through us, and us through it. Every moment that we are being, is a divine embodiment of creation.
Written by Laura Naomi
"Shedding Light on to Shadow"
image credits: jonny clow on Unsplash and lopez robin on Unsplash
Over the years a lot of folks have talked to me about different ways they'd like to express their artistic energy. Although many seem certain the best thing they've ever drawn is a stick figure, I like to take the perspective that everyone is creative in their own way. Mathematics is not a strong point for me, unless it's shown in an artistic way, then it takes a different shape so to speak. Yet mathematics is still a form of art. The Artist Archetype holds a lot of powerful energy. It symbolizes the innate ability each of us have within to create. Creation energy is extremely enriching and there are many ways it can be channeled into our lives. It is not unusual for human beings to block and misuse this energy however, therefore hindering the natural flow and causing it to manifest in ways that may not be entirely healthy.
Allowing creative energy to emerge can take various paths depending on the individual. The first step is recognizing if we are blocking energy in the first place then finding different ways to allow it through.
Getting to know your creativity
Some ways to get to know our unique creative expression is to map it out. Mapping creativity can be done through a vision board, creative writing/drawing and or an artwork of some form. Some reflections may be:
Often if there is a creative blockage it can manifest as lack of inspiration or flow or emotional restlessness (e.g. getting stuck in specific emotions or emotional barriers). Some perhaps even experience a physical sensation of disconnect in the body.
The artist has the ability to transform energy. It is one way that the artist archetype expresses itself within a human being. The artist can emerge in many different ways and it is linked to the natural energy within each of us.
The healthy aspect of the artist is boundless. Personally, what I find most beautiful is the raw, unedited and transformative nature of this energy. Also how it can offer vulnerability and insight and shares a story without words.
While a lot of artists create their best work when in a tumultuous state, for others it is quite the opposite. Emotion is one of the key elements of the artist, this reveals the rawness and interwoven relationship of human and spiritual connection.
For me, expressing artistic creation is deeply healing. It is something that emerged as a child and like other artists I know, has evolved over time. It has followed my spiritual journey intimately and is directly linked to these more 'unseen' ethereal dimensions. For others of course it is different, although it could still be experienced as something spiritual in other ways. That is another beautiful part of the artist, how expression is unique in all interpretations.
I feel it is true that the beauty of art is indeed in the eye of the beholder, yet it is something else to just observe and perceive without any judgment (positive or negative). Rather seeing for the sake of seeing, taking in the energy of the creation.
Another important aspect of the artist archetype that can be related to every day life is the idea of creative vs reactive. Responding to situations or challenges in life with a creative perspective has the ability to transform energy, whereas if we respond from reactivity this can implode our energy causing inner turmoil and therefore also affect our outer world.
Written by Laura Naomi
image credits: logan weaver on Unsplash, Amauri mejia on Unsplash and craig whitehead on Unsplash
The Doorways of Santa Fe
We'd driven through Santa Fe, albeit during a snow storm on New Years Eve a few years ago. We had been on our way to the Grand Canyon, but mother nature had other ideas. This time, although no snow, the streets were still quiet and were a maze for the cold wind to dance. A few artisans remain huddled waiting for the last stragglers to walk by. Although the end of Winter held back visitors, it did not hinder the creative spirit clearly felt and seen in every direction. The artist in me soaked it all in, the diversity wondrously healing for my soul.
I started noticing hidden doorways that beckoned me with their story. I feel deliciously drawn by the mystery of what lies beyond; my imagination starts to soar. I wonder what the story is that weaves mine with theirs... My curious spirit wanders to great depths, as each scene shares its tale. The worn wood, the well-trodden stairway, the emotion captured indefinitely in sculptures, the morning light shining gently upon rustic walls, the wings of great angels, eagles and hearts. It becomes a carnival for the eyes, almost to the point of overwhelm that we have to pause and take a breath.
After tracing more roads, we came to rest for a while inside a quaint hotel. Sitting by the fire I felt as though we'd traveled to another country. More doorways opened to more doorways, each revealing a mystery within. It felt not unlike the nature of human beings; that inside each of us are doorways, which open to more doorways, revealing the mystery within.
Written by Laura Naomi
© Photography - Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2019